As a result of the financial crisis the European Commission published the Green Paper “Audit Policy; Lessons from the Crisis” in 2010. The European Commission wanted to debate how to improve the independence of auditors and how to improve the quality of the audit in general in order to strengthen the confidence in the financial reporting. This thesis focuses on the subject; “The independence of auditors”. The main question in this thesis is; “Is further legislation needed in regard to the independence of auditors and will it have a positive effect?” The principal agent theory is used to answer this question and to explain why there is a natural need for independent audit. An explanation of the current legislation is included, to clarify the conditions, under which, the auditors work when it comes to independence. In this context the threats that may affect the auditor´s independence are described. The challenge regarding the expectation gap is included. A British study concludes that an expectation gap exists. A minimization of this is essential to increase the confidence in the financial reporting. To examine whether there are indications for a need of further legislation regarding independence, a case study is conducted. The case study concerns Danish banks that collapsed in the period 2008 to 2012. The case study shows that the auditors significantly generates their turnover by selling non-audit services. Further it reveals that the auditors have been subject to considerable criticism regarding performance of the audit. The criticism relates, among others, to lack of reservations in the auditor´s report and failure to include significant matters in the audit book. An overview of the revenue for “Big 4”1 regarding the financial year 2011/2012 indicates that “Big 4” focus strongly on selling non-audit services. This is seen as a potential threat to auditor´s independence. In the thesis it is concluded that there are indications, that the auditor´s independence may be affected by the large focus on selling non-audit services, as the threat regarding own interest may exceed an acceptable level. On the basis of this, it is concluded, that there is a need for a tightening of the legislation on auditor´s independence. This adjustment will increase confidence in the auditor's work and the financial reporting as a result of eliminating potential threats and minimizing the expectation gap. Working with this thesis has taught me, that it is important that the audit profession as a whole, decides whether it wants to focus on increasing turnover by selling non-audit services or it wants to focus on its original core area; To bring a high level of credibility to the financial reporting by eliminating potential threats to independence.
|Educations||MSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||82|